Back in the spring of 2020, most property management companies would have seen employees working at the office as essential to their business. However, the mass “work from home” experiment necessitated by the pandemic clearly proved that remote work can be just as productive as on-site work, as long as you have the property management tools to enhance collaboration.
While many companies are now gearing up to bring back employees into the office in the fall of 2021, employees now expect a hybrid mix of remote and in-office options. In countless surveys workers are saying they want to return to their office, but not like before… not on a daily basis. Key concerns regarding back-to-the-office policies include potential Covid exposure, lack of work-life balance and less flexibility.
In short, there’s never been a better opportunity to reimagine the future of work.
Make Workplace Flexibility the New Normal
Across all industries, organizations of all sizes are trying to figure out how to navigate and respond to changing employee expectations around how and where they work.
For property management companies to successfully retain and attract new employees, they will have to adapt to this new reality and create a “new normal” working culture that emphasizes flexibility and supports their talent, all while staying aligned with organizational goals. Otherwise, they face the possibility of “the great resignation” as employees look for companies that offer flexible, post-pandemic hybrid options.
Use Technology to Bridge the Gap Between Remote and On-Site
While the use of property management technology was growing prior to the pandemic, the need to empower collaboration and communication was a catalyst for a surge in enabling technologies that help bridge the gap between remote and on-site workers. (And, between employees and tenants as well!) Tools like communication portals were no longer nice-to-haves, but were “de rigueur” – an utmost necessity for property professionals to collaborate with one another.
Use Technology to Better Serve Prospects and Tenants
As vaccines continue to roll out, your tenants will also be heading down the path of getting back to normal. That said, industry experts are saying that we will not be returning to the way things were, and new realities like self-guided tours, online applications and online payment that reduce human contact will still be expected.
Rethinking Workplace Density
While many employees do welcome the chance to see their colleagues, and have that sense of connection back again, they don’t want to go back to the status quo. Property firms will need to have a staggered re-entry that brings people back slowly, and allows for physical distancing.
Many workspaces were originally designed to maximize worker density with as many cubicles as possible packed into open floor plans. As property professionals return to the office, these open spaces might be converted into open-air meeting spaces or communal areas, and individual work taking place in enclosed areas, like pods or smaller enclaves. Many organizations are adopting an “office as a clubhouse” model, where employees can get together and brainstorm.
As well, post-pandemic multi-family property companies will promote on-the-job social distancing between staff and residents through the use of cloud-based applications for tasks like collecting rent, signing leases and communicating with tenants.
“Office” Doesn’t Equal Culture
In the past, it was easy to conflate the physical corporate office and superficial perks with company culture. Whether it was open concept office design, a fully stocked coffee bar, or the foosball table in the corner. While these gestures